Behold. This is the bread of deception. That dark brown color implies whole grains and exotic flours full of bowel bulking healthy goodness. I’m here to tell you it’s all a lie. This fluffy bread is freaking delicious because it’s full of chocolate and honey and butter. It’s a sweetened white bread masquerading as high fiber health food.
I forgive it, though, because it makes my mouth so damn happy.
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tbsp yeast
4 tbsp browned butter
½ cup honey
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
3-4 drops black food coloring (optional)
Mix your honey, warm water, and yeast until they’re all one happy brownish slurry. Once the yeast is dissolved, leave it alone while you go make your brown butter.
Brown butter sounds schmancy, but it’s honestly dirt simple. This step adds both color and a nice nutty taste, so don’t wuss out by melting your butter in the microwave and calling it a day. Instead, toss your butter in a pan over a medium-high heat and melt it down. It’ll turn into a liquid, get frothy, get liquidy again, and then start to change color, like it’s going through a metamorphosis from a beautiful golden stick into a dirty brown puddle. It’s a tasty puddle, though, so don’t judge.
Stir your browning butter until it reaches a nice caramel color, then take it off the heat. Fair warning – the line between a pretty brown liquid that smells fantastic and a black clot of burned horror is pretty thin. Once your butter foams up, keep a close eye on it. My butter went from the fridge to a nice pourable brown in about five minutes.
That leaves you with five more minutes to wait while your yeast parties it up with the honey. I got a little impatient and mixed my unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, and flour right into the yeast. You’re a better person than I am, though. Your bread will be even fluffier if you wait. If you’re going to add the black food coloring, now is the time. I was curious how dark mine would come out without it. It’s not the brown-black of Outback, but it’s still a good, respectable grocery store wheat bread color.
Once you have your cocoa, salt, and flour in the pan, add the browned butter on top. This creates a sort of buffer zone between your yeast and the scalding hot butter. You do this to keep the heat from killing off all the yeast you just spent ten whole minutes carefully cultivating. If you dump the butter right in with the liquids, your bread won’t rise.
Now attach the dough hook to your stand mixer and let it go crazy for about 5-6 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand, mix it all up and knead for 6-10 minutes. When you’re done, put the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel.
In an hour, it’ll look like some kind of beautiful chocolate blossom has grown in your bowl. Take a good whiff. It doesn’t smell chocolate. See, that’s how they deceive you. The chocolate adds color and a familiar tang, but since it’s mixed with honey, not too terribly sweet, and totally out of an expected context, it helps your bread masquerade as something healthy. I can’t hate them for it, though, because this stuff is freaking delicious.
Punch down your dough and divide it into three wee little loaves. If you have some on hand, this is the time to dust the bottom heavily with corn meal and give the top a light sprinkle. If you’re out, don’t worry.
I really wanted to see if these looked much like the Outback bread when done, so I baked them up in mini loaf pans. You can try making free form small loaves if you’d like. Heck, if you want to bring something fancy to a party, I bet this would braid up into a really lovely shape.
Instead of an egg wash, I coated my loaves with more melted butter. Like I said – this isn’t health food. After 25 minutes in a 350F oven, my mini loaves baked up into a lovely dark golden brown.
Fresh from the oven, these loaves tasted an awful lot like Outback Steakhouse’s bread. However, they weren’t quite dark enough. If your grocery store sells caramel color with the rest of the food colorings (mine does not) then try adding half a teaspoon. The next time I make these, I’m going to add the black food coloring most recipes recommend. I really like this color, but it’s not Outback Black.
Bitchin’ Bread Battle: Enter the Madness
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 1: Nutella Challah
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 2: Banana (Catan) Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 3: Rosemary Garlic Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 4: Ood Rolls
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 5: Not Quite King’s Hawaiian Rolls
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 6: Make it Dough
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 7: Wookie Pull Apart Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 8-11: Settlers of Catan Bread Board
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 12: How NOT to Make a Sandworm
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 13: Valentine’s Day Anatomical Human Heart Pull Apart Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 14: Nutella or Cinnamon Roll Hearts
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 15: Outback Copycat Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 16: Return of the Sandworm
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 17: Vegan Popplers
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 18: Woodbury Bleeding Zombie Victim Loaf
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 19: Alien Xenomorph Pretzel Bread Eggs
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 20: Aperture Laboratories Bleeding Summer Strawberry Lemon Bread
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 21: Roasted Garlic Bread in Meatloaf Grease
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 22: Wonder Woman
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 23: Watermelon Bread